Performance of European cross-country oil pipelines – Statistical summary of reported spillages in 2016 and since 1971

27 Mar 2018

This report is an analysis of spillage incident data collected by Concawe from European petroleum pipeline operators for the 2016 reporting year and a full historical perspective since 1971. 66 pipeline operators provided information for over 140 pipeline systems, with a total reported throughput of 755 Mm3 of crude oil and refined products, and a combined length of 35,414 km. The analysis includes an appraisal of short and longer- term trends in spill volume, the main causes of spillage, and the use of in-line inspection tools (pigs). Product theft attempts continued to be the major cause of spills in 2016 although the total number (60) was lower than in 2015 (87). Another 6 spillage incidents were reported in 2016, corresponding to 0.18 spillages per 1000 km of line. This is similar to the 5-year average and well below the long-term running average of 0.46, which has been steadily decreasing over the years from a value of 1.1 in the mid-70s. There were no fires, fatalities or injuries connected with these spills. 1 incident was due to mechanical failure, 3 to corrosion and 2 to third party accidental interference. Overall, based on the Concawe 1971-2016 incident database and reports, there is no evidence that the ageing of the pipeline system implies a greater risk of spillage.